Your toilet probably doesn’t get a lot of maintenance, other than regular cleaning. As long as it isn’t clogged, you’re better off leaving it alone, right? But what happens when you try to flush and it doesn’t work as it should? Do you have a plunger?

Even if you don’t – there are more than a few ways to avoid a bathroom overflow. Maybe, you have some spare baking soda in the kitchen or a metal wire you can repurpose into a plumbing snake. You’d be surprised how many household items can help you unblock a toilet without too much effort. We’re about to show you a few tricks – you just have to choose the one that works for you!

Table of Contents:

The culprits behind blocked toilets

To begin with, you need to understand why your toilet got clogged in the first place. There are several reasons why your toilet wouldn’t flush. For example, if your water flow is too weak, or the pressure is too low, flushing wouldn’t be effective, and clogs start forming slowly. On the other hand, if you try to save bin space by sending toilet paper or other items down the drain – you’re in for a wet adventure. A few things to keep away from your toilet bowl are:

  • Baby wipes
  • Tampons and pads
  • Cotton materials
  • Nappies
  • Paper towels
  • Hairs
  • Toys

Now that you know what causes clogs, how about removing them? Of course, a plunger is the best thing to have in the event of an emergency – it’s cheap, doesn’t take much space and all you have to do is start pushing and pulling inside that toilet bowl. But what if you don’t have one, or you tried using it, and it didn’t work? Not to worry – we’ll teach you how to unblock a toilet without a plunger.

Check this out!: How to Stop a Toilet from Running

How to unblock a toilet

While there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to unblocking a toilet – there is a lot of flexibility to what you can use to make things better. It doesn’t matter if you’re new to DIY or an experienced problem-solver. Maybe, you already know some things – like how to change a shower head, for instance.

Either way, standard household supplies like baking soda or dish soap can work wonders if you use them properly. Furthermore, you can repurpose an ordinary metal wire into a plumbing snake – a hefty little tool that goes inside your toilet bowl to break tough clog-ups.

warning

Use rubber or plastic gloves to protect your hands while working!

Unblock a toilet with baking soda

If your toilet doesn’t flush at all – you’re probably wondering if it isn’t too severely blocked. If that’s the case, a good fix is to pour in a baking soda and vinegar solution and give it some time. Note that this requires the toilet bowl not to be full!

Here’s how to do it:

  • If the water level has reached the toilet’s brim – empty some in a bucket or another container.
  • Fill a cup of baking soda and another with vinegar.
  • Pour the baking soda into the toilet, then pour the vinegar.
  • When the two compounds mix, the chemical reaction will release air and loosen the clog.
  • Give the mix about half an hour and pour warm water.
  • If there’s only a slight improvement, repeat the process one more time.

How to unclog a toilet with Epsom salts

Another nice use for baking soda is a DIY bath bomb made with Epsom salts. These small chunks can save you a lot of money, and they’re relatively easy to make overnight. If you’re looking to unblock your toilet drain using Epsom salts, here’s how:

  • Mix 2 parts baking soda with ¼ part Epsom salt and add a few tablespoons of liquid dish detergent.
  • Pour the mixture into small containers (ice-cream cups, muffin tins, etc.)
  • Let the bath bombs harden up overnight.
  • Drop one into the toilet with a few glasses of warm water and let it rest for a few hours.

Dish soap can unclog a blocked toilet

One of the things that probably crosses a toilet owner’s mind is: “Is dish soap effective for unblocking?” Yes, it is! In a perfect world, you’d use organic, eco-friendly soap because it’s not harmful to your skin, but even if you just have regular soap available – it’s still better than toxic chemicals like bleach. Soap is easily accessible and a decent means to unblocking your toilet.

Here’s the whole process:

  • Pour a few tablespoons of liquid dish soap into your toilet.
  • Add 4-5 glasses of hot water to get the detergent working.
  • Give it about half an hour.
  • Flush and see the result. Repeat the process if necessary.
tip

If you don’t have any liquid soap available, you can use small bar soap pieces. Just remember to mix them with warm water and then pour into your toilet.

How to unclog a toilet with a wire

Sometimes, the clog is too chunky, and you have to break it down to smaller pieces. That’s a nasty business – especially without a plunger or a plumbing snake. Fortunately for you, if you have an old metal wire lying around – use it as a substitute for a plumbing snake. The wire should be hard enough to be effective when trying to agitate the clog, but soft enough, so you can bend it using some force.

Here is how to use it:

  • Hold your wire, so it stands straight, then bend one of its ends to resemble a hook.
  • Carefully push the hook end into your toilet. Try not to scratch the porcelain along the way.
  • Slowly keep pushing inwards until you reach the clog.
  • Jiggle the wire a bit and pull out slowly.
  • The hook end should pick up some part of the clog and break it up into smaller pieces.
  • Repeat until your toilet starts draining again.

Pour hot water in the toilet bowl

Sometimes, you don’t even need fancy DIY methods to unblock your toilet. If your toilet is slowly draining, then the clog might not be stacked too firmly. Some hot water could help break it up!

Here’s how to unblock a slow draining toilet using hot water:

  • Boil 2-3 litres of water.
  • Pour it in the toilet bowl, one cup at a time.
  • Wait for about 10 minutes, so the water can loosen the clog.
  • If you notice that the drainage speed is increasing, flush the toilet and see the result.
tip

Hot water will only work on relatively loose clogs – if you don’t succeed with it, try a different method.

How to prevent toilet blockages in the future

Unclogging a badly blocked toilet isn’t hard, but can be time-consuming and unpleasant. Instead of just looking for solutions – you can spend 5 minutes every other month and eliminate the cause of the problem in the first place!

The best thing you can do about clogs is to prevent them from forming. Regularly dropping a simple Epsom salt bath bomb can save you future headaches. If preparing those bath bombs looks like too much effort, you can do some maintenance using the baking soda and vinegar method, as well.

Another thing to remember – watch out for what gets thrown down the drain. Paper towels, hairs or toys are one of the most common causes for clogs. All the maintenance in the world isn’t going to stop those LEGOs if they end up swimming there. You should probably get in the habit of cleaning your hairbrush over the waste bin, too.

Check as well!: How to Effectively Remove Stains from Toilet Bowl

Takeaways

  • Don’t forget your gloves – no clog is worth irritating your skin!
  • Baking soda and vinegar cause air to release – remember to make some space in the bowl first.
  • Bath bombs with Epsom Salts can be useful for both unblocking and preventing future clogs.
  • Use your wire snake carefully – don’t scratch the toilet bowl, or yourself.
  • Hot water is not that strong of a fix – if you notice your toilet is badly blocked – use another method, or call a professional.

Your toilet’s blocked and you’re too busy to try DIY methods? We’re here for you!

Hire a professional and pat yourself on the back - we’ll do the rest.

Enter your postcode
  • Last update: February 17, 2021

Posted in All Articles, Home Improvement